Factors associated with occupational strain among Chinese teachers: A cross-sectional study

X. Yang, L. Wang, C. Ge, B. Hu, T. Chi

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16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: With the reform of the education system in China, teachers are suffering from more occupational strain, which is believed to impair their working state indirectly and affect their health. This study assessed occupational strain and explored the related factors among Chinese teachers. Study design: Cross-sectional with cluster sampling. Methods: The study population was composed of 3570 school teachers working in 64 primary and middle schools in Heping District in Shenyang, China. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire (the Chinese version of the Occupational Stress Inventory scale). Multivariate linear regression analyses were performed to study the factors related to occupational strain. Results: The average score on the Personal Strain Questionnaire (PSQ) for the whole study population was 106.5 (107.5 in men and 106.3 in women). Teachers with chronic disease, a greater number of days of sick leave, recent experience of a stressful life event and divorced/separated/widowed status tended to suffer greater strain than their peers. Regression analyses showed that the PSQ score was significantly associated with role overload, role boundary, responsibility and physical environment, and inversely associated with recreation and rational coping. The most crucial predictors of occupational strain were chronic disease, days of sick leave, recent experience of a stressful life event and marital status. Being a class teacher was the strongest indicator of interpersonal strain. Self-care was associated with vocational strain and psychological strain, and inversely associated with physical strain. Conclusions: Most teachers in this study experienced a high degree of occupational strain. Chronic disease, days of sick leave, recent experience of a stressful life event and divorced/separated/widowed status played prominent roles in occupational strain. In addition, role overload, role boundary, responsibility and physical environment induce occupational strain, while recreation and rational coping have a positive effect on occupational strain. Interventions such as proper management of chronic diseases and establishment of a balanced work-family life are crucial to reduce occupational strain. Recreation and training in coping abilities are needed to enhance positive working environments and attenuate the occupational strain imposed on teachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Volume125
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Chinese teachers
  • Chronic disease
  • Occupational strain
  • Sick leave days

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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